IRS Chats and Emails, a Parallel Universe

Who knew that the IRS was the only agency that runs an internal chat communication system? Seems, Lois Lerner and her inner circle made full use of it after getting full confirmation that those chat exchanges were not recorded or archived, giving full freedom to discuss with co-workers to continue to ambush of non-profit conservative groups.

The IRS became a parallel universal agency to halt and eventually prosecute organizations against freedom of speech and the ability to re-dress grievances as directed by many including some members in the Senate and in the House. This was a attack mission directly after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United and mentioned by Barack Obama in his State of the Union address. The timeline is there, although it is a long one with many moving parts.

An update on the email component:

From Reuters,

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge is ordering the IRS to explain under oath how it lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency’s tea party controversy.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency a month to submit the explanation in writing. Sullivan issued the order Thursday as part of a freedom of information lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.

The IRS says it lost the emails in 2011 when Lois Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. She has since retired.

Lerner has since become a central figure in several congressional investigations over the handling of tea party applications. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has already testified on the issue before Congress.

So on the Fourth of July weekend, Commissioner John Koskinen delivered a major cache of communication documents and inside a particular email was found by assigned Oversight staffers, directing a hearing on Wednesday.



‘I was cautioning folks about email and how we have several occasions where Congress has asked for emails … we need to be cautious about what we say in emails’

he House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today released new e-mails at a hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen showing former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner leading an IRS effort to hide information from Congressional inquiries.

From the April 9, 2013, email exchange among Lerner, an IRS technology employee (Maria Hooke), and the agency’s Director for Exempt Organizations Exam Unit Manager Nanette Downing who led audits:

I had a question today about OCS [Microsoft Office Communications Server]. I was cautioning folks about email and how we have several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.  Someone asked if OCS conversations were also searchable – I don’t know, but told them I would get back to them.  Do you know?

Lerner’s April 2013 e-mail exchanges came just twelve days after the IRS Inspector General shared a draft copy of its targeting audit with the IRS that Lerner would leak at a bar association speech only weeks before the scandal became public.

In e-mails withheld from the Committee until only last week, Lerner was apparently concerned that IRS conversations taking place within the agency’s instant messenger program could end up in the hands of Congress along with requested e-mails. An IRS technology employees responded that “OCS messages are not set to automatically save” but cautioned that “parties involved in an OCS conversation can copy and save the contents of the conversation to an email or file.”  Lerner responded, “Perfect.”

When Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, raised the e-mail to Commissioner Koskinen’s attention, Koskinen said he had never seen the e-mail and was unfamiliar with the OCS communication system.

You can read the new Lerner e-mails here.

Lerner is at the center of the scandal prompted by revelations more than a year ago that IRS officials improperly targeted and harassed hundreds of Tea Party and conservative nonprofits seeking tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns.

Lerner has twice refused to answer questions put to her by the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. She claimed her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.


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Denise Simon